Manchester United’s U21 side played their final scheduled pre-season match against Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday evening. The young Old Trafford side won 2-1 in front of over three thousand supporters in the stadium. Josh Harrop scored both of the goals inside the first half on a nice summer’s evening in the South Yorkshire town. A third successive clean sheet was denied by the home side after Jean-Yves M’Voto’s late goal.
Sam Winnall saw his shot bend off target as the home side started the match brightly, but it was United, who were wearing the clubs new white away shirt, that took the lead on the eleventh minute. A misguided pass by Conor Hourihane was received by Harrop, who ran towards goal and hit a stunning shot in to the far corner of the Barnsley goal. United were 1-0 up and Barnsley keeper Adam Davies was left to pick the ball out of his net.
Barnsley attempted to reply through Winnall shooting on target from the volley, but Joel Castro Pereira thwarted the home sides efforts. Brad Abbott saw his shot deflected wide of the target also. Tom Thorpe performed a diving header to clear his area after Barnsley broke through on the attack. United immediately emerged as a threat at the other end of the pitch, punishing the Tykes for exerting pressure on them. Referee Jon Moss played advantage after Tom Lawrence was brought down, but Andreas Pereira was unable to beat Davies at a tight angle from the resulting shot.
United doubled their lead inside the 32nd minute after Harrop performed a slick one-two with Lawrence, burying his finish past Davies leaving United two up without reply. Marcus Haber saw his shot thwarted by Pereira immediately after the restart and they the trialist headed down for Winnall to shoot over the crossbar from close-range. The final effort of the first half came from Nana Boayke-Yiadom, who at full stretch, failed to register his shot on target.
At the start of the second half, Winnall pick-pocketed Thorpe, but the United skipper managed to get a toe on the ball to send it back to keeper Pereira, just before Haber looked to get a shot in. Harrop left the field with Davide Petrucci replacing him, while James Wilson replaced Andreas Pereira. Harrop was applauded by both sets of supporters, which was well-earned and will also be good for the players confidence.
Belgian defender Marnick Vermijl fired his shot straight at the Barnsley keeper and Winnall placed his shot too close to Pereira. The chances on goal soon started to dry up. Reuben Noble-Lazarus tried his luck from close-rage with a couple of strong shots, both flying over the crossbar. United were struggling to break through the Barnsley side, despite James Wilson being fresh from his recent substitution.
Donald Love made an appearance in the match, it was brief as he pulled up trying to reach a pass from Wilson and was replaced inside seven minutes by Sean Goss. In the closing minutes of the match, Pereira managed to keep United in the match, keeping out two shots, but he was unable to prevent a superb finish by M’Voto, which reduced the arrears of the match. United won 2-1, keeping them in good stead ahead of their new season.
United’s next fixture, unless any others are planned, will be the Manchester Senior Cup Final against rivals Manchester City which will be played at Hyde FC’s Ewen Fields ground on Thursday 7th August 2014. United have won the last three finals in the tournament, with both Manchester clubs sharing the honours since 2004, which is some achievement, but is no shock with both teams having pretty successful Academies in the city.
Manchester United: J.Pereia; Vermijl, McNair, Thorpe, Varela; Janko, Pearson, Rothwell, Harrop (Petrucci 52′); A.Pereira (Wilson 63′), Lawrence (Love 72′ (Goss 79′)) Substitutes Not Used: O’Hara, A.Fletcher, McConnell, C.Evans, Willock